Need to Reduce Call Transfers? Try These Approaches

Blurred contact centre employees at desks

Call transfers can be frustrating and time-consuming for everyone involved. So, what can be done to reduce the need for an agent to transfer a call?

To find out, we asked our panel of experts for their short- and long-term strategies for reducing call transfers, as well as their top tips for making the experience as seamless as possible when it does need to happen.

1. Make It Easier for Every Agent to Serve the Customer in Front of Them

Give Agents More Authority to Stop Endless Transfers to Supervisors

Chris Dealy, WFM Evangelist, injixo
Chris Dealy

The name of the game is First Contact Resolution (FCR), and the first step towards improving FCR is identifying the reasons why calls get transferred.

Frequently, the reason is a lack of product knowledge, which can be addressed via training.

Another reason is that frontline agents aren’t empowered with the authority they need to resolve customers’ problems without transferring to a supervisor.

Contributed by: Chris Dealy, WFM Evangelist, injixo

Match Customers to Agents With the Right Skill Set to Solve Their Issue

Ben Booth at MaxContact
Ben Booth

Integrate intelligent call routing systems to efficiently direct calls to agents best suited to handle specific issues.

For example, new technology, such as skill-based routing, helps to match customers to agents with the right skill set to solve their issue, reducing the need for transfers.

It can also help to regularly review call patterns and customer feedback to identify recurring issues so agents can be proactive during calls.

Contributed by: Ben Booth, CEO, MaxContact

Map the Caller’s CLI to the Most Recent Agent for VIP Service

Look for products that offer an ‘expert connect’ solution where you can map the caller’s CLI to the most recent agent to ensure the caller gets that VIP service.

Customer journey, customer experience and employee experience are equally important.

Mapping call-flows with AI, expert connections, CLI lookups and journey reports will limit the need for agents to transfer calls, speed up the resolution time, and most certainly improve customer satisfaction.

Contributed by: Chris Angus, VP, EMEA Contact Centre Engagement, 8×8

Establish More Context From the Customer Upfront

Pierce Buckley at babelforce.
Pierce Buckley

For increased call containment, the goal is to resolve simple queries, at scale, without an agent. In practice, 20% call containment is a good, achievable result. The other 80% are still going to an agent – but they can be partially automated.

In these cases, the value of the automation part is to establish context. Detailed call context includes who is calling and whether they are high value or high churn risk, as well as what they are calling about.

The value of a voicebot in these scenarios is that it can establish a far more comprehensive context than a traditional IVR (because you could easily program thirty responses at a particular decision stage for a voicebot).

Contributed by: Pierce Buckley, CEO & Co-Founder, babelforce.

Take Skills Into Account When Scheduling Your Agents

A very common root cause of call transfers is inefficient scheduling. The goal of workforce management is to always have the right people in the right place at the right time to handle customer interactions.

By “right people” we mean “people with the right skills”. Taking skills properly into account when scheduling your agents will inevitably reduce call transfer rates.

Contributed by: Chris Dealy, WFM Evangelist, injixo

Help Every Agent Deliver the Best Customer Outcomes With Real-Time Guidance

Frank Sherlock at CallMiner
Frank Sherlock

It’s common knowledge that whilst reducing AHT can decrease operational costs, it may not necessarily reduce repeat contact – especially when calls are rushed and customers are passed from to pillar to post with no resolution.

In addition to robust ongoing training programmes, organizations that deliver the best customer experience often focus on providing real-time guidance to help agents deliver the best customer outcomes in-the-moment, without the need for additional transfer calls.

Contributed by: Frank Sherlock, VP of International, CallMiner

Create Targeted Training Programmes

In today’s customer service landscape, agents require more than pure call-handling skills and need to draw on their emotional intelligence and adaptability – backed by a proactive attitude.

While training and motivation are key, workforce management (WFM) technologies are also increasingly important for identifying skills gaps, creating targeted training programmes, and ensuring the right agent is available at the right time so fewer calls need to be transferred.

Contributed by: Magnus Geverts, VP Product Marketing, Calabrio

2. Make Everything as Smooth and Fast as Possible When Agents Do Have to Transfer

Automate Interaction Summaries to Stop Customers Having to Repeat Themselves

A thumbnail photo of Lauren Maschio

Call transfers can be as frustrating for the agents involved as they are for the customers. AI has greatly improved this process through automated real-time interaction summaries.

First, purpose-built AI for CX models with industry-specific data are used to identify customer intent, actions, resolution and sentiment during an interaction.

Then generative AI is used to translate these insights into easy-to-understand language that is stored in a CRM system.

Contact centres can now instantly generate objective and digestible post-interaction summaries with the relevant context needed for the next agent.

Now agents don’t have to ask the customer to repeat themselves upon a transfer or any time into the future.

Contributed by: Lauren Maschio, Team Lead, Product Marketing Manager, NICE

Empower Agents to See Which Experts Are Free to Take a Call

Richard Gregory at Odigo

There is often a difference between transferring between departments and transferring to an expert outside of the contact centre.

Expert transfers won’t make up the bulk of internal transfers, but these cases are often complex, and seamless case handling is especially important.

When agent platforms integrate with an organization’s UC software, agents can make informed transfer decisions; they know which experts are on duty and who is free to take a call.

This may lead to the decision to arrange a callback rather than a transfer. Agents can also speak directly to experts to introduce both the customer and the context.

In some situations, it will be appropriate for agents to listen to the advice or resolution given to help future customers with similar queries.

Contributed by: Richard Gregory, Senior Sales Executive, Odigo

Tell the Caller About the Transfer Process

If a transfer is absolutely necessary, there are several things that should be done to ensure the transfer process goes smoothly:

  • Effective communication between agents is key. Make sure the first agent explains the scenario and what actions have been taken so far to the receiving agent.
  • Transfer the call to the most appropriate agent or department. Whatever you do, make sure that your agents aren’t just transferring someone to transfer them.
  • They must send the caller to the most appropriate agent based upon the circumstances. Having skills-based routing technology can help with this, but if you don’t have that, make sure there are proper transfer protocols in place.
  • Lastly, the transferring agent needs to set clear expectations for the caller. Tell the caller about the transfer process, including any potential wait times. Keeping customers informed helps manage their expectations and reduce frustration.

Contributed by: John Ortiz, Technology Sales Manager, MiaRec

Make Customer History Available Across All Channels

A headshot of Magnus Geverts

Today’s savvy consumers expect a seamless experience across all platforms.

Integrating effective back-end systems ensures that organizations can source complete customer history and preferences from across all channels, reducing the need to source repetitive information and the need for transfers.

Furthermore, given the ubiquitous availability of mobile devices, it has now become essential to optimize customer service for mobile access.

An effective approach should include a website that offers all the main mobile-based contact options like SMS and social media messaging platforms.

In the modern digital environment, where customer experiences – both good and bad – are shared online 24/7, those organizations that can minimize the frustration of being passed between agents are in a strong position to stand out. In doing so, they can deliver a win-win of enhanced efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Contributed by: Magnus Geverts, VP Product Marketing, Calabrio

3. Eliminate the Need for Call Transfers in the Long Run

Fast-Track the Call to a Solution Without Ever Having to use Your Agents

Chris Angus at 8x8
Chris Angus

To start with, you really need to map out why the customer is calling and ask if you can handle this enquiry without passing it to an agent.

Imagine that’s a yes – using a carefully integrated chatbot with a combination of conversational and generative AI you can fast-track the call to a solution without ever having to use your agents to qualify.

Contributed by: Chris Angus, VP, EMEA Contact Centre Engagement, 8×8

Double-Check Your FAQs Are Easy to Find

Customer support should be highly accessible, including displaying freephone numbers on all web pages, offering webchat and keeping FAQs updated and easy to find.

Sharing customer feedback across the organization also helps promote a unified approach to common issues and can help more people to quickly source the information they need that might otherwise require one or more calls.

Contributed by: Magnus Geverts, VP Product Marketing, Calabrio

Solve the Root Cause of Any Trends That Contribute to Transfers

By digging into and solving the root cause of these trends, organizations can improve FCR and reduce call transfers.

Analysing every customer interaction across channels at scale can uncover trends – whether it’s process inefficiencies or areas of agent improvement – that contribute to increased repeat calls or transfers.

By digging into and solving the root cause of these trends, organizations can improve FCR and reduce call transfers, creating a more seamless and positive customer experience.

Contributed by: Frank Sherlock, VP of International, CallMiner

Ask Every Customer “What’s the Reason for Your Call Today?”

If all your efforts are based on a misconception, it’s never going to be effective. It’s important to get the basics right: do you really know why your customers are calling?

Introducing an open question into qualification: “What’s the reason for your call today?” alongside speech analytics can catalogue the real reasons and prevalence of customer intent.

With that knowledge, the right journeys, qualification and routing options can be put in place, so customers reach the agent they really need not the one the organization assumes they need.

Contributed by: Richard Gregory, Senior Sales Executive, Odigo

Use Topic Analysis to Investigate All of Your “Transfer Me” Calls

John Ortiz, Technology Sales Manager, MiaRec
John Ortiz

One surefire way you can help with reducing the number of transfers in your contact centre is by using voice analytics… specifically topic analysis.

Topic analysis can categorize and organize all your calls based on the language used in the call. For example, if someone says something like, “Let me speak to your manager” or “transfer me”, topic analysis will identify those as “Transfer Calls”.

Now that you have all your transfer calls organized in one place, you can easily go back and review those calls to identify the reason why a transfer was necessary.

Usually, it’s a lack of agent knowledge that leads to a transfer. Go back, listen to the calls, identify what the agent didn’t know, train the agents on this topic, and watch your number of transfers decline significantly!

Contributed by: John Ortiz, Technology Sales Manager, MiaRec

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Step

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when faced with high volumes of call transfers across your contact centre, but as the Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

So, whether you initially work on making it easier for agents to serve customers, improve the transfer experience, or even take steps to resolve longer-term issues with your call transfers, you can feel confident that you are taking positive steps to improve the customer and agent experience in your contact centre – and drive operational efficiencies too.

For more great insights and advice from our panel of experts, read these articles next:

Author: Robyn Coppell

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